Arran's Law

Chanelle's boyfriend Arran is accused of murder, and she goes on a one woman mission to clear his name.

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9. Weight Of The World On My Shoulders

For the few seconds that Arran holds me in his arms, I feel safe. For those few, precious seconds, I can forget that all of this has happened. For the tiny space of time that Arran is holding me, I can pretend that we're back home, and Miranda Lockhart is still alive. I can pretend that everything is alright - I can pretend that the only person in the world that I love and can't live without, isn't facing murder charges, and possibly the death penalty if he is found guilty.

 

But then he lets me go, and I have no choice but to face the real world again. The real world is a cold, dark, cruel place, and I so wish that things would change.

"So what do we do now?" I ask him, close to tears. Arran sighs deeply. He looks at me with eyes that wouldn't look out of place on a man five times his age.

"I have to wait here until my trial, and the police will question me every day, tell me that they know I killed her, even though I didn't. You have to go back to the estate, where you will be known as a killer's girlfriend. Jordan is going to be seriously pissed off. I wish I could help you, but there is nothing I can do from in here. And it's not like the police are going to help you. Remember, we don't matter to them. They think I'm a cold-blooded killer. Your my girlfriend, so you're guilty by association. The police don't care about us, even if we've done nothing wrong." He says the last line loudly, and looks directly at the camera. Slowly and deliberately, his sticks up his middle finger at the camera, just like I did earlier. I smile at him, this small act of rebellion making me stupidly, smugly, happy.

"I know." I say, acting like nothing has happened. "How long is it until your trial?"

"I think it's about three weeks, a month tops." He says, looking at me apologetically.

 

All the air is sucked from my lungs, and my whole world crumbles a little more. A month? One month? Is that all the time I have? How can I find enough evidence to convince a whole jury that Arran is innocent in that short frame of time? Then the world starts shaking, and I can't breathe. Arran grabs my arm, and cups my face with his hand.

"Baby, come on, relax. Deep breathes, Chanelle, deep breaths." Arran says, adopting that tone he uses when he soothes me. But his words do nothing to soothe me.

"Don't call me that." I gasp. Arran's smooth brow furrows.

"Call you what?" He asks, tilitng his head to one side.

"Don't call me 'Chanelle'." I beg him, finally managing to drag oxygen into my air-starved lungs.

"Why? That's your name!" He says, looking at me like I'm crazy.

"Arran, please, call me Nelly." I tell him.

"Why? Why do you want me to call you that?" He asks.

"Because 'Nelly' is what my boyfriend calls me." I whisper before I bury my face in his chest and start crying. Everything that's happened today has just become too much.

 

A short sob escapes from Arran's throat. Then he holds me like a drowning man would hold a life raft. He holds me tightly, as desperately as I'm holding him. He buries his face in my hair, and I can feel his tears. I've only ever seen Arran cry once, and that was when I told him about the Jordan incident.This unwelcome memory makes me cry harder.

"I'm so sorry, Nelly," Arran manages to get out between his sobs. "Oh, Nelly, I never meant for this to happen. I didn't mean for it to spiral out of control. Nelly, I'm so, so sorry." But then he can't speak anymore, so I just hold him tighter.

 

After what feels like a thousand years, I stifle my sobs, and fight for control. Above me, I can hear Arran doing the same thing. I take my face out of his chest, and there is a big, wet mark on his t shirt. Arran's eyes are red, and he has tear tracks on his cheeks.

"I'm so so sorry, Nelly." He says again. I reach out, and stroke his cheek.

"It's alright. I'll find the evidence that we need. I won't rest until I do." I tell him, and he smiles a little, shivering. It's then that I remember that I'm wearing his hoodie.

"Sorry, do you want this?" I ask, going to take it off.

"No, it's fine. I've got yours. D'you want it back?" He asks. I look at him properly, and see that he is wearing my hoodie. I smile.

"Keep it, and we'll do a swap." He smiles gently at me. "I have to go." I say regretfully.

"Ok. I love you, Nelly. I love you so much." He says, embracing me.

"I love you too, more than you could ever imagine." I tell him, my voice a little muffled. He lets me go slowly, reluctantly.

I take one last look at him, and then leave.

 

As I walk through the station, fear starts creeping into my mind. Omigod. Arran is innocent - that much is clear. But how am I going to prove it? I've only got a month to find something to save him. And if I don't... He'll be found guilty, and he could be given the death penalty. I start hyperventilating again. I'm the only one who can help him. I wish there was someone else who would help me, take some of the burden. Someone who would help me, tell me that everything's not lost. But no one will help me. I have to help Arran myself.

 

The weight of the world is on my shoulders.

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